Horatio Poitier lives a double life -- at least for now -- the 31-year-old is a physical education teacher by day and a farmer for the remainder of his free time. But it's a situation he's looking to remedy very soon and turn his focus towards poultry farming full time. Actually, Poitier tended his resume effective June 12 in order to devote all of his time to his poultry farm -- Poultry Outlet and Farm (POF). He's just counting down the time.
It's at POF where Horatio Poitier raises birds of all types -- chickens, Cornish hens, ducks and geese. He sells the processed birds as well as their eggs. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas period, there are even fresh turkeys to be had. He has plans to introduce quail and pheasant to his flock at his farm located at Cowpen Road west.
And it could come as a shock to some people to people when they realize who he is. Most people know Poitier from his standout days as a point guard on the St. Anne's Blue Waves basketball team during his high school years, and the years after when he played for the Rockets in the New Providence Basketball Association, so they may be shocked to find out that he is passionate about what he's now doing.
"I was blessed with having the opportunity to live across the street from Stan Smith who was the deputy director of agriculture for a period of time. He would go to his farm on the weekends, and we would pick watermelons and peppers for him. As a kid I used to fight my mom to go with him. And as I grew up I realized that I liked to be free and that I also liked to be in charge and I love farming," he said.
When he decided to go into farming, Poitier did his research. He attended a poultry convention in Atlanta and looked at what they were doing in Jamaica and decided to just go for it. He put the idea of farming on the table to his wife, Kerryann Poitier (who had grown up in a farming community) and she was all for it. Poultry Outlet and Farm received its first chickens two years ago with 500 day-old chickens from the United States. Today his farm has 700 chickens which he takes pride in rearing naturally.
He raises all-natural and free-range organic chickens, free of antibiotics.
His all-natural birds are kept in a building, and aren't allowed to roam as much as his free-range organic birds that are allowed outside and allowed to forage and take care of themselves as nature intended. His ducks are also free range.
"I don't put antibiotics into any of my birds or anything to boost them up. People can expect a high quality bird that was loved and nurtured. And most people have told me they can taste the difference in the bird," he said.
As he splits his time between teaching and farming -- he is up most days by 4 a.m. feeding and ensuring that his animals are okay before he leaves for school. He returns home during the middle of the day just to ensure that his automatic watering system has done its job, and then he checks on his birds again at night. But for the most part he said he doesn't have too many headaches on his farm.
On Saturdays, Farmer Poitier sells his fresh processed product at two different farmer's markets -- at Doongalik Studios on Village Road, and at the New Providence Community Church market. A dozen chicken eggs retail for $4. And you can purchase a live or processed bird. Live birds are sold by the pound. Processed free-range organic birds average $10, while all-natural birds retail for approximately $7. A duck can run you around $20. Duck eggs are $5 a dozen, when they're available. Most of his clients call ahead to ensure their order.
And if you just can't wait until the Saturday market, Poitier takes telephone orders during the week. Your bird is processed the day you order it, and it can be delivered to you. There is a delivery charge of $5 to $7 depending on where you live. He will even deliver a dozen eggs if you want it.
And there is one chef that's a huge fan of Farmer Poitier's birds, it's Chef Simeon Hall Jr. who touts using Farmer Poitier birds and eggs as he pushes the farm-to-table concept of eating. He says his chicken and waffles with powdered sugar and goat pepper honey butter is the perfect recipe to showcase Farmer Poitier's chicken.
Chicken and Waffles with powdered sugar and goat pepper honey butter
For this recipe you will need a deep pot for frying (with a candy thermometer) and a waffle machine
Recipe: Chef Simeon Hall Jr.
4 pounds Farmer Poitier chicken wings
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning
2 teaspoons Lawry's seasoning salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Dash of fresh ground pepper
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ cup sugar
3 large Farmer Poitier chicken eggs
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup hot water
8 ounces butter, softened
½ goat pepper, seeds removed
3 tablespoons honey
Cut chicken wings into sections.
Season with three cloves minced garlic, ½ cup heavy cream, two teaspoons of Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning, two teaspoons of Lawry's seasoning salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a dash of fresh ground pepper. Refrigerate seasoned chicken wings for at least three hours.
Heat four cups of oil (I prefer to use soybean oil) to a temperature of 325 degrees F. Cook the wings for approximately eight minutes and place on a paper towel to soak off excess fat.
To make waffles sift three cups of flour, two tablespoons of baking powder, ½ cup sugar and a pinch of salt together.
Blend together three large Farmer Poitier fresh eggs with ½ cup of sugar, then add one tablespoon of vanilla extract, one cup of milk, ¼ cup vegetable oil and one cup of water. Gently fold in the dry ingredients and combine ensuring that you do not over mix and make the batter tough.
To make the waffle: Follow the manufacturers instructions for your machine.
To make the goat pepper honey butter: Allow eight ounces of butter to soften. Add ½ of goat pepper from which the seeds have been removed, and three tablespoons honey. Mix together and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Assemble the dish by placing a scoop of butter on the hot waffle, add the hot wings and bathe with powdered sugar. Serve with goat pepper honey butter or your favorite syrup.
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